August 2, 2017 marked the day I first encountered a real, live geoduck. I had seen the oddly shaped bivalves on TV, but had never held one in my hand. 

 

The occasion was seeding the geoduck bed at Rob's Shellfish Farm near Shelton, Washington.  I had a chance encounter with Rob in Shelton and after some conversation about the good old days back when hippies were real and the world seemed ripe for real change for the better, the talk turned to shellfish in general, and geoducks in particular. I told him what little I knew of the tubular beasts and he suggested I might be interested in taking part in the seeding operation a couple weeks out.

 

When I showed up on his doorstep at 7:30 am on the appointed day, he seemed surprised, but pleasantly so. Another of the seeders was already on the deck and awaiting a big plate of scrambled eggs to fuel the mornings' work.

 

We drove to a boat launch to park our vehicles and walked about 500 yards Rob's section of the geoduck beach. Assembled there was quite an interesting crew, from a little girl of 8 or 9 (grand daughter of one of the older seeders who busied herself with collecting beach treasures of her own devising in a bucket while the grownups toiled on the beach) to guys who had worked with Rob as far back as 1967!

 

The geoduck "seed" is delivered to the beach in ice chests containing water and battery-powered aerators. They are deposited a few at a time into 6" PVC tubes driven vertically into the beach sand at a lever sufficient to ensure period submersion with the tides, and then the whole bed is covered with 1" netting to keep crabs and other predators from attacking the juvenile geoducks.

 

I believe there were over 80 tubes in this particular bed and it seemed to take about 2 and a half hours to complete to operation. I must confess to getting a bit overheated toward the end and the constant bending and stooping caused some slight soreness the next day. But, on the whole, it was an interesting experience that I enjoyed. Now to actually TASTE a geoduck. Stay tuned...

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